By Alex Anagnoson
1. To celebrate the life (and imminent death) of Olivia de Havilland
That’s right! Olivia de Havilland, 23 at the time of the movie’s release, is still kicking at 98. Her days are numbered, so we have to honour her while we can. May I say that she was excellent in the film. She played the one character, terrifically acted, with a true heart of gold in all film history. Olivia de Havilland was the heart of the film – it was her, especially at the end, that brought a truly emotional piece into the film.
2. Michael Tuns says it’s the greatest film of all time
Yes, indeed. Michael Tuns, film expert extraordinaire – Royal St. George’s go-to Film Man, believes it is the greatest movie of all time. Not his favourite (mind you, there is a difference), but the objective best. He notes the cinematography, music, and the acting. “When you think of a movie, you think of the general events that happen in the movie. You have this vague idea of what it was about, while when you think of Gone with the Wind, you think of Scarlett against the sunset, or the shot of the countless Confederate bodies across the ground. You think of these moments that were so perfect, that few other movies have. Few other movies could capture any important moments, much less 5 or 6. The music is incredible. The acting is incredible; it’s rare to see people so natural in their roles. I can watch Scarlett’s life over four hours, and understand her more than I understand most people I know. She’s an incredibly well-developed character, and while not being a stereotypically independent woman, she is a very independent woman. She is just her own entity in that she is a very strong character.” I think that all this praise from the film genius himself has got to mean something.
3. It’s the most successful film of all time
At the time, Gone with the Wind set records for the number of Oscar wins and nominations. Also at the time, it was the highest grossing film ever. And adjusting for inflation, Gone with the Wind is the most successful film in box office history. And for a damn-good reason, too.
4. It got the black community its first ever Oscar nominee (and winner) in Hattie McDaniel
Yes, that’s right! The first black Academy Award winner and nominee ever was Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammie in Gone with the Wind, who was, by the way, an excellent character. She was what made the film revolutionize the way blacks were portrayed in film. Not only was McDaniel cast perfectly for that role, but Mammie was also a damn-near perfect character. Hilarious, down-to-earth, sassy, yet bright – she had it all. Gone with the Wind was worth it just for Mammie alone.
5. It’s almost four hours
Allow me to explain. The length of the movie may seem like a deterrent at first, but it can actually work to a viewer’s advantage. Here’s the solution: instead of watching it in one big chunk, split it up! It is composed of two parts, after all, separated by an intermission. Watch the first two hours one day and the next two hours the next day. Then it doesn’t seem too inundating.
Also, something I’ll always take notice of and respect in a movie based on a novel is its fidelity to the book. Gone with the Wind was, of course, based on the book, and that is precisely why it is such a long movie – it is extremely faithful to the book. That’s something I’ll almost always appreciate in an adapted screenplay.
6. It’s got all the famous quotes
“Fiddle-dee-dee,” “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again,” “After all, tomorrow is another day!,” and of course, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” all came from this film. The latter was especially groundbreaking, considering its virtually unheard of profanity. The film has had such a profound impact on society that all of these quotes have almost become a part of American culture.
7. It’s in colour
Films in colour today are commonplace, but back then (the 30s, mind you), not only was a colour film groundbreaking and striking to the audience – but it can also be spectacular to a modern audience. When a color film was made in the late 30s, they really used that benefit to their advantage. Virtually everything – every scene, every costume, every background was beautifully colourful. They really used Technicolor to their advantage, and it just made the movie so aesthetically pleasing.
8. It’s got that happy 30s feel to it
It’s partly because of the color, but also just because it’s a 30s film. It has that kind of indescribable feeling of happiness a vintage film gives you – like Wizard of Oz, or It’s a Wonderful Life, or Miracle on 34th Street. Yes, simply watching it just made me happy. Essentially, one reason to watch the movie is to brighten up your day a bit.
9. You have to
Gone with the Wind is a classic. Not only is it often considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, but it has become ingrained in popular culture and is simply a cultural phenomenon. It should be one of the many movies you see before you die.
10. The ending
Gone with the Wind’s ending was very atypical for the time, and even of this time. It had a combination of grief, despair (which in this context are indeed two different things), plus happiness, and hope. It didn’t have the typical “happy ending” that most 30s and 40s films had, but it was not a sad ending either. And in my eye, a good ending can almost always make a piece of literature by itself. This ending may not have been that good, but it is one of the top 10 reasons to watch the film.